Queue the lyrics from Toby Keith's "I love this bar" song "I love my truck" I did.
All those country songs that sing about a truck, I'll be a little lost now because I'll think of you, but it won't be the same...
I didn't name you, I didn't even give you a nickname, but you were a loyal truck. I gazed at you as I was removing the last of my belongings, thinking, dang, that is a nice truck. But as you know, it was time for me to have something more useful.
I traded my Tacoma, a brand I was loyal to since 2004 when I was able to make my first vehicle purchase. My dad would be proud to know that I am an owner of a Ford, ya know, an American OWNED company. But who cares because my trucks were built in Alabama by hard working Americans - I'm not sure where my Ford was built - was it Mexico? Maybe I'm hopeful, and it employed Americans, too.
I was brand loyal to Toyota, but Toyota didn't offer the economical vehicle that I needed.
You see, I am in a predicament. I need to SAVE money and CUT my budget. This means no car payments, and certainly no additional fuel expenses. But I didn't want a car. How could I possibly drive a car every day? I couldn't. Thus, my search began with the most economical SUV on the market that was available as an even trade-in for my truck.
Toyotas hold their value as proven by my truck. I actually received more for my trade in than I ever financed...of course, I did have a nice down payment from my previous Tacoma I sold privately for over half the value after 5 years and 100+ miles. It also helps that I talked down Toyota to a very nice price on my Tacoma. So I had a truck originally valued at 30K bought in 2009 with high miles and traded it for a 2011 vehicle with 23,000 miles that had an original value of 30K. Say what? Hah, that's the Toyota value. I trade up with literally no money out of my pocket. Well, it is questions whether trading a Toyota for a Ford is perceived as up.
So to google I went: Google, tell me the most fuel efficient SUV. Well...that depends on the year and engine size. But I found the Ford Escape to be one of the most efficient SUV's. I briefly considered a GMC Terrian, but TONS of reviews stated that the vehicle did not come close to it's estimate EPA rated MPG. It also said the shifting was rough with the 4 cylinder, and the 6 cylinder was no where near as efficient. I also looked at the Chevrolet Equinox, but I never found anything I liked. So I went back to the Escape. I searched KBB, Edmunds and all the local dealers and came up with a list (and spreadsheet) of all the vehicles with pertinent information such as MPG, year, mileage, cost, engine size, and dealership. I went through tons of photos, and in the end, ranked each vehicle then proceeded to test drive. Luckily, I was able to strike a deal with my number one match, so I wasn't driving all over town talking to sales people and wasting a lot of time.
Test driving included city, highway, and merging on a busy interstate, along with installing the car seat and pretending to be a tall passenger. I inspected tires for wear and kept the radio off to listen for any road noise. I have always been weary of being used vehicles, ya know, since I have purchased 2 vehicles in my life, so I felt I had to be more thorough with my test driving experience.
So I ended up with a 2011 Ford Escape XLT
It has 23,000 miles, one owner, and no name. There aren't any songs about SUV's (at least country songs), so I guess I won't sing to my new car. But that's okay, because truthfully, I can't stand Toby Keith; therefore, I won't feel guilty changing the station, even when he says he loves his truck...
What I gained:
- Fuel Economy - I averaged 21 mpg in my Truck, and so far have averaged near 29 mpg in the Escape.
- Sun Roof - I didn't NEED this, but it was an nice, unexpected bonus.
- Flex Fuel
- Sync System - Hello! Now Auxiliary line needed to play I<3Radio in the Escape. Thanks Bluetooth.
- Interior Cargo Space
- Height Adjusted Seats - For shorties like me, this was necessary since I couldn't find an Escape with a back up camera.
- Factory Warranty - At least 1 year and over 12,000 miles left of the original warranty
- 6 Months of Sirius Radio
- I also avoided putting new tires and brakes on my truck, which I could tell were going to be needed soon, so that saves a grand at least.
I am a little lost without the running boards, that I have tripped into the Escape several times, but the step up isn't as dramatic...though when I am 7 months pregnant, I might miss the slight step up and then being able to plop my butt in the seat. I'm sure I'll adjust, but in the mean time, I think I'll try to avoid bruising my legs.
What I lost:
- Back up camera - But I was so short and with a tonneau cover and a kid's car seat, I needed the camera to double check my surroundings! My truck didn't have a power seat adjuster, so I couldn't adjust the seat height.
- Tons of cup holders (11 to 4) - Okay, so 6 of those cup holders were meant for bottles in the door. In all, I lose one cup holder in the front, so I accepted the loss.
- Lumbar Seats - Well, this is a complete loss. No lumbar and nothing to make up for it.
- Hitch - I never used the hitch on my truck, but would have been a nice feature on the Escape for a bike rack. Less cargo carrying ability - In the bed of my truck, I could fit a ton of unneeded stuff, like a baby pool to create a ball pit for a short weekend getaway. Guess I'll sub a hard plastic pool for a blow up pool.
So now my Sunday routine becomes a lot easier when it comes to grocery shopping with Aidan. Instead of trying to shove everything into the front seat (so it wasn't a flying object in the back seat in case an accident happened), I can now nicely fit my groceries in the rear cargo space.